Monday/Tuesday 7/8th December 2009 ETA slips further ... and further... Tuesday is Day 60! Landfall imminent!
What a fabulous sunset Monday evening! I just sat in the cockpit for ages and watched the glorious colours slowly change.. sharing the calm scene with three albatrosses.. What a fitting end, I thought, to my journey down the Atlantic - from England to S. Africa...
It had been a pleasant but frustrating day.. Overnight, the wind went very light & backed from ENE to W, as a Low moved E to the S of us. For about two hours after dawn, it got stronger & I poled out the genoa. But by 8 o'clock, we were slopping about in a light SW wind and quite a big swell & by mid-morning, I took the pole away with the wind, still very light, veering to NW. It slowly increased over the afternoon & by evening we were finally making good speed directly towards Cape Town - end of journey in sight, at last, I thought, feeling really good & on a high... During a lovely dawn on Tuesday, I actually had to reduce sail and we were making 7.5 kt boatspeed (the speed log deciding to work at that point - it's just become totally erratic...)ETA - early afternoon at latest...! Along the way, the 2nd reef line parted near the leech cringle, to join the first reef line lurking somewhere in the boom, just to add to the joblist and give me another problem to resolve after it happened.... I had to tie in the reef cringle with a piece of line as the sail flapped in the wind...
No, no, no..... Fate had decided yet again to have the last laugh - the wind died... and died...over the early morning. Birds and seals are lying around, grooming themselves in the calm water under a hot sun.... the seals with their flippers in the air to attract my attention... Earlier, I'd seen delicate Fairy terns, along with gannets and several albatrosses and petrels new to me.. no shortage of wildlife just here. But boatspeed ... forget it! It's 1000UTC, the sun is hot, 'Fred' the Hydrovane is gently steering us at 3.5 knots towards Cape Town in 8 knots of breeze - up a tad from 4-5 knots earlier, and I'm hoping this slow increase in wind keeps on to give an improvement on the present ETA of 2100 UTC - 11 o'clock, local time, tonight. (A vast improvement on 10 pm tomorrow, when we were making under 2 knots for quite a time!)
Yesterday, I had a Christmas present sent to me!! A ship that I'd contacted to confirm if they'd seen me on AIS or radar, the "Cape Jacaranda", had had a short chat with me .. and later I heard Christmas music over the VHF radio(on standby on Ch 16 as usual)and spotted a DSC message with Christmas greetings displayed on my AIS screen!!! I thanked them over the VHF radio & sent greetings back to all the crew - that was really nice of them and I wore a big smile for quite a time afterwards!!!
Speed up to 3.9kt SOG, course to Cape Town looking good, ETA now 1922 UTC - ~9.22pm local time - that's better - let's hope it keeps improving & doesn't die again as could easily happen! I've only 32 miles to go to the harbour entrance and from there it's a short distance to the Royal Cape Y.C. where I'm booked in for my repair stop. Lots of shipping around now. Some bound to or from Cape Town, others on passage around the Capes of Good Hope and Agulhas to or from the Indian Ocean
Monday: 75M (actual: 86M) Wind was strong up to Sunday afternoon but then gradually died by early morning Distance to Cape Town: 135M - 64mls closer!
Tuesday: 106M. Wind died this morning. Distance to Cape Town: 29M
ETA: Tues 2300LT - maybe!..still a fickle wind.
Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain both in view as I write this!!